What I Wear to Work: Henry “Hank” Battie

Here’s what the stylish owner of downtown Sarasota’s Cravats’ Custom Clothiers & Haberdashery wears to work.

By Alicia King Robinson 10/28/2016

Henry “Hank” Battie, a genuine Sarasota gentlemen and master custom clothier and designer, is the owner of Cravats’ Custom Clothiers & Haberdashery. A native and Booker High School graduate, he discloses his top tip for men, his style inspirations and his favorite item in the design studio right now.

WHO: Henry “Hank” Battie, president and owner of Cravats’ Custom Clothiers & Haberdashery in Sarasota

ABOUT CRAVATS’ CUSTOM CLOTHIERS & HABERDASHERY: We have long been considered the premier custom clothier of Florida’s west coast. I founded the business in 1990. We produce custom-made shirts and clothing for men and women. We carry everything from business attire to festive tuxedos, dinner jackets and custom-designed formal shirts, vests and cummerbund sets to fine jewelry, silk hosiery and footwear.  A master tailor is on-site to fine-tune our custom garments and also accepts outside garments for alterations. The studio also offers custom-made casual-style shirts, slacks, jackets and even suits made from fantastic fabrications. Styling is limited only by your own imagination.

WHAT I DO: As a small business owner, I do it all from time to time–from cleaning to everything in between. I handle most of the day-to-day operations and make all of the accessories purchases, which are mostly all custom-designed from manufacturers’ swatch samples.

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Behind The Counter: Henry “Hank” Battie

By Susan Burns Photography by Lori Sax

You were born in Sarasota. How did you get into the tailoring business?

I’ve always loved clothing. I started buying my own clothes when I was nine. When I got out of the military, I needed a job and worked at a St. Armands store for 16 years. After an ownership change, I started looking around, and no one was doing custom.

How do you describe your business?

We’re custom clothiers. Everything is made specifically for our clients. We do ladies clothes, too.

Who comes into your shop?

We have myriad clients—financial advisers, attorneys, professionals and, since we have such an active retiree community, retirees.

How do you keep up with trends?

A lot of the stuff I see in GQ I wouldn’t wear. The new style looks like Pee-wee Herman’s clothes or your little brother’s hand-me-ups. We do what’s best for the client.

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2015 Magazine Article – STYLE | CLOSET ENVY

2015 Magazine Article – STYLE | CLOSET ENVY

“Tailor Made”

A Sarasota native, Henry “Hank” Battie is the owner of Cravats’ Custom Clothiers & Haberdashery, located at 1530 Dolphin St, Studio Five, in  Burns Square. Battie has spent the last 40-plus years in the men’s fashion industry with the most recent 25 as president of Cravats’. He is a member of the prestigious and oldest men’s fashion organization in the world, the Custom Tailors and Designers Association. In his 22-year membership he has earned the association’s highest honor of master custom clothier. He has been a mentor with the YMCA’s “Achievers” program for the past 20 years and has been a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast for 11 years.

What one piece in your closet would you not want to live without? My navy blazer, although I don’t wear it as much anymore.

How would you describe your personal style? Classic with an edgy flair.

Do you have a favorite designer and if so, who and why? As a designer, that would be me because I know what does and doesn’t work for me. I’m very persnickety in most things but especially so when it comes to my wardrobe. After 25 years of designing my own clothes and having them fit to my specifications, I’ve become truly and totally spoiled.

How did you become interested in fashion? My interest in fashion began very early, at age 9 when I started working and buying my own clothes.

What one piece of fashion advice would you give to men? The law says that you must wear clothes, so why not look your best in them? And as Mark Twain once quipped, “naked people have little or no impact on society.” My best advice, however, is to remember that personal style will take you to where fashion sometimes shouldn’t go, therefore, style rules.

What is your favorite fashion accessory? For men, I think it’s the pocket square or rounds as some are shaped now. It adds that touch of debonair and the finishing touch to the ensemble. But please, no matching with the tie. For ladies, a scarf because it can be worn so many different ways and also adds a certain touch of elegance. Check out Michael Saunders (our local real estate mogul) who’s the queen of scarves.

If you could make one fashion trend go away, what would it be? Ultra-skinny suits and clothes in general for men with the emphasis on “ultra”.

What is the most sentimental piece we would find in your closet or jewelry box? An old, old, old photo pin of my mother and my late wife’s wedding band with an Egyptian inscription that reads “Forever Yours” that I wear daily on a pinky finger.